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Your KS #71 – A new book from Katharine Susannah Prichard’s granddaughter

By Nathan Hobby

Karen Throssell, Katharine Susannah Prichard’s granddaughter, recently released The Crime of Not Knowing Your Crime: Ric Throssell Against ASIO with the publisher Interventions. Three generations of Throssells have now published memoirs roughly thirty years apart – Katharine’s autobiography Child of the Hurricane (1963), followed by her son Ric Throssell’s memoir of his father and himself, My Father’s Son (1989) and now Karen’s account of her family’s struggles over decades against false espionage allegations.

The book interweaves prose, poetry and quotations with pictures to create a multi-faceted exploration. With encouragement from an ASIO operative with a long vendetta against Katharine Prichard, Ric was named by the Soviet defector Vladimir Petrov as a source of information from the Department of External Affairs to the Soviet Union. Ric and his wife Dodie were cleared by the 1955 Royal Commission but continued to be treated with suspicion for the rest of his life.

The Crime of Not Knowing Your Crime is a poignant, wide-ranging portrait depicting Ric and the rest of his family’s pain, with many fascinating asides about Katharine and her husband Hugo Throssell. It is also beautifully designed.

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